In partnership with H&M
Since the groundbreaking partnership between Karl Lagerfeld and fashion giant H&M in 2004 for a designer collaboration, it became clear to couturiers that bringing high fashion to the everyday woman was well within arms reach.
The ‘high-low’ collaboration has clearly worked and the chokehold that H&M has on the fashion world has lasted over 10 years strong, evidently so after the recent Mugler collaboration had crowds lining up around the block just to snag a piece of the coveted collection.
Designer collaborations have come a long way since the seminal moment Lagerfeld declared the start of his foray into high-street style and brands have held no bars capitalising on the exclusivity train that seems to work so well with the general public and fashion mavens alike.
Putting an ‘X’ between two names has simply become a part of the ever-changing news cycle within the fashion industry. But amidst the endless rollouts of designer collaborations on the roster, what makes H&M stand out? Surely, the accessible prices have a hand in the demand, but at the core of H&M’s collaborations, lies its dedication to preserving the artistry and essence of high fashion and democratising design—making otherwise inaccessible clothing available to the masses.
Names like Versace, Maison Margiela, Balmain were among the names on the roster at H&M’s long list of designer collections, and now—Rabanne is next in line for a collaboration with the fashion giant.
Pushing the limits of the space-age movement in the sixties, Paco Rabanne’s legacy remains etched in the annals of fashion history, a testament his daring vision and boundary-breaking designs that were well ahead of his time.
Pioneering the use of unorthodox materials like chainmail and plastic in dressmaking, his vision of redefining glamour was a lesson in innovation and ingenuity. Today, his legacy of radical modernism is survived by Creative Director Julien Dossena, who helmed the collaboration between H&M and the house of Rabanne for a glittering collection inspired by the playful spirit of the 70s.
“Founder Paco Rabanne was the master of metal, famous for shaking up Parisian haute couture with Space Age modernism. In the same spirit, Julien has brilliantly reinvigorated an iconic brand, infusing it with fresh energy,” says Ann-Sofie Johansson, creative advisor at H&M.
At its core, the collaboration takes another step in translating the unconventionality of the maison into ready-to-wear pieces. “Paco Rabanne was a genius when it came to radical design and innovative materials; I’m excited to take that philosophy further with a collection that makes our icons more accessible and also pushes the boundaries of sustainability,” says Julien Dossena, creative director of Rabanne.
The house philosophy of ‘more is more’ still stands—sequins, metallics, rhinestones and leopard print pay homage to the late designer’s uncompromising dedication to the outlandish vision of the house. Sequinned dresses and matching sets in gold and silver may set the tone of the audacious collection, but that’s not all the collaboration has to offer—understated options include a series of loungewear and everyday pieces, exampled by an anglaise poplin shirt with just a hint of the dramatics with a flared sleeve and a high frilly neck, best paired with bell-bottomed silver trousers.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a Rabanne collection without the chainmail and XXL-sequins—this time, made from recycled-polyethylene terephthalate (PET) sequins and recycled metal to bring our Barbarella dreams to life.
On the accessories front: jewellery, bags, scarfs and headpieces come as a well-deserved plea in vindication of the late Rabanne’s iconic high-shine sensibilities. Earrings and necklaces are amped up to elevate any outfit from drab to fab and add a jingle with every step taken.
If one statement piece at a time is enough for you, we recommend going with a bag from the collection to make a serious style statement. Drawing inspiration from Rabanne’s Le 1969 bag, it’s almost hard to believe that Rabanne’s ultra-modern design has lived on even over half a century later, and in the latest collaboration, the bedazzling purses certainly prove that good things come in small packages.
The collection rounds from ready-to-wear and a full suite of accessories, but the plot thickens: the powerhouses will also be dropping homeware pieces—inspired by Rabanne’s very own archival mid-century furniture designs.
Homewares aren’t immune to the gilded treatment that extends fashion and jewellery; decks of cards and die emblazoned with the heavy-metal treatment alongside Space Age-esque chainmail curtains marks the expansion of the Rabanne universe, staying true to the late designer’s proclivity for design beyond garments.
Sure enough, collaborations may come and go, but Rabanne and H&M present a case of statement dressing so strong that even we can’t seem to deny—it’s simply their world, and we want to live in it.
See the collection here.
Photography: Zantz Han
Styling: Gregory Woo
Hair: Yuhi Kim, using DunGud
Makeup: Sha Shamsi, using Burberry Beauty
Models: Aimee Cheng-Bradshaw / Basic Models; Silas Krish / Mannequin Studio
Photography assistant: Dennis Er